University of Surrey appoints Professor Max Lu as its Vice-Chancellor 3 Dec 2015

The University of Surrey has announced the appointment of preeminent chemist and nanotechnologist, Professor Max Lu, as its fifth Vice-Chancellor. He joins the University on Monday 25 April 2016, following the departure of Professor Sir Christopher Snowden earlier this year. 

Professor Lu joins the University after spending more than 20 years in senior roles at the University of Queensland, including his most recent position as Provost and Senior Vice-President. He brings deep expertise in materials chemistry and nanotechnology, having made seminal contributions to science and innovation in nanomaterials and their applications in clean energy and environmental technologies.

Recognised among Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers, Professor Lu is one of only 150 double highly cited academics in the world, with over 500 peer-reviewed articles published in top journals, attracting more than 31,000 citations. He is also the co-inventor of more than 20 international patents and has received numerous prestigious awards throughout his career, including the China International Science and Technology Award, Queensland Greats Award and the International Mesostructured Materials Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor Lu has served on multiple high level Australian government committees and advisory boards, including those under the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council and ARC College of Experts. He is also a Member of the 4th State Council of China Overseas Chinese Expert Consultative Committee.

Commenting on Professor Lu’s appointment, Dr Jim Glover, Chair of the University of Surrey’s Council, said: “Professor Lu has the right blend of personal, academic and leadership credentials to take the University forward as a world-leading institution for teaching and research. He has a proven track record of strong leadership, delivery of income growth and provision of an excellent student experience in a world top 50 institution.

“He has an extensive network of collaborators in both the UK and the Asia-Pacific region, which coupled with his strong international outlook, will undoubtedly help the University in its mission to build an even stronger reputation across the globe.”

Professor Max Lu added: “I am honoured to be appointed as the fifth Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey. It is a great privilege to be given the opportunity to lead such a fine institution with exceptional national and international standing in teaching, student outcomes and research.

“It is an exciting, albeit challenging time for the higher education sector and we have the chance to shape government policy to ensure the UK stays at the top of this increasingly competitive market.

“Our central mission in higher education is to educate and equip students with the skills and confidence to become future leaders, driving positive change around the world despite the many global challenges society is facing.”

Professor Max Lu’s appointment marks the end a strong year for the University of Surrey, having been named University of the Year by the Times and Sunday Times and achieved a top ten ranking in all three major national university league tables. It also follows the launch of its world-leading 5G Innovation Centre and School of Veterinary Medicine, which was recently opened by HM The Queen.


After completing his PhD, Professor Lu spent three years in Singapore as a lecturer at Nanyang Technological University. He joined the University of Queensland in 1994, and has held positions of senior lecturer, associate professor, professor and Chair of Nanotechnology in Chemical Engineering. He won the prestigious ARC Federation Fellowship twice, in 2003 and 2008.Prior to taking up the role of Provost and Senior Vice-President in March 2014, Professor Lu served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) from 2009, and acting Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor from December 2011 to October 2012. He held the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Linkages) from October 2008 to April 2009, following his seven-year service as the Foundation Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials.

Research expertise

Professor Lu’s research expertise is in the fields of materials chemistry and nanotechnology. He has made seminal contributions to science and innovation in nanomaterials and their applications in clean energy and environmental technologies. With over 500 publications in high impact journals (including Nature, J. Am. Chem. Soc, Angew. Chem, Adv. Materials), he is also co-inventor of more than 20 international patents.

Professor Lu is a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in both Materials Science and Chemistry (with over 30000 citations and h-index of 94). He has received numerous awards nationally and internationally including the China International Science and Technology Award, Orica Award, RK Murphy Medal, Le Fevre Prize, ExxonMobil Award, Chemeca Medal, and Top 100 Most Influential Engineers in Australia. He was named as a Queensland Great in 2013, and won the inaugural Australia-China Achievement Award (Education) in 2014.

Professor Lu is an elected Fellow of Australian Academy of Science, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, IChemE, Engineers Australia and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Government committees and advisory boards

Professor Lu has served on numerous government committees and advisory boards including those under the Australian Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (2004, 2005 and 2009) and ARC College of Experts (2002-2004).

He is the past Chairman of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Australia Board and former Director of the Board of Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). His other previous board memberships include Australian Synchrotron, Uniseed, National Emerging Technologies Forum, Research Data Storage Infrastructure, Queensland China Council, Stem Cells Australia, and Translational Research Institute. He is currently a member of the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Economic Development Steering Committee, the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and a member of the 4th State Council of China Overseas Chinese Expert Consultative Committee.

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